Activists rally at Statehouse on May DayBy WILSON RING
The Associated Press | May 02,2013Mark Collier / Staff Photo
Hundreds of people turned out for the annual May Day march and rally organized by the Vermont Workers Center. Marchers represented causes ranging from worker rights to the environment and energy policy.MONTPELIER — More than 1,000 activists highlighted their visions of social justice Wednesday at a May Day march through the city and rally on the Statehouse lawn that featured lived music, speeches and lots of red T-shirts.
Speakers at the event labeled Put People First promoted the rights of immigrant farmworkers, the need for universal access to health care and other topics.
Traditionally, May 1 is celebrated internationally as the day of the worker.
“We are trying to build the community we would all like to live in, where peoples’ needs are all being met, whether that be housing, whether that be food, access to transportation,” said Sandra Schlosser, a volunteer with the Vermont Workers Center who helped organize the rally.
Organizers also called on Vermont legislators, who met inside the Statehouse while people rallied on the lawn, to take action on various issues.
The Workers Center asked that lawmakers pass a budget that “meets the needs of the people.” Some of their criticisms of the Legislature include proposals to cap the welfare-to-work program, inadequate citizen participation in the state budget process and what they see as a too-slow process to implement the first-in-the-nation single-payer health care system.
Schlosser recognized that Vermont is far ahead of many states on social issues but said residents need to support similar efforts elsewhere.
“Even though Vermont probably is leading the way in a lot of those areas it’s something that isn’t just happening here, it’s something that’s happening all over the United States,” she said. “And it is really exciting.”
About 1,500 people attended the rally, Schlosser estimated. Montpelier police did not have an independent estimate of the crowd size.
Others at the rally included Alberto Madrigal, 22, from Tabasco, Mexico, who has been working on a Vermont dairy farm for the past 18 months.
He spoke in favor of an effort by a group called Migrant Justice to legalize driver’s licenses for farmworkers in the country illegally. An estimated 1,500 immigrants work on Vermont’s dairy farms.MORE IN Vermont News
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1618, English author, poet, soldier, adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for conspiring to overthrow King James I, but more likely to mollify offenses to Spain. His executioner has to implore him for silence.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1492, Italian explorer, admiral of the ocean sea, Christopher Columbus, sailing for the Spanish crown, 'discovers' Cuba; on this day in 1964, U.S. officials deny American involvement in bombing North Vietnam.
- Video: Fire engulfs house on Pine Street
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1936, Mrs. Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson, mistress of King Edward VIII, is granted her second divorce, enabling her to marry the king. The government, the Church of England and the London Times have another idea.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: V-2 No. 13, launched this day in 1946 from White Sands, New Mexico, takes first photographs of Earth from the edge of the planet's outer atmosphere; 1947: Walt Disney testifies before HUAC, names employees he says are communists.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont's brand discussed at Killington, state's attorney candidates Marc Brierre and Rose Kennedy profiled, Curtis reports about Rutland police chief's new job, and four arrested, charged for heroin, crack sales.